As we’re facing increasingly serious environmental threats such as climate change, plastic pollution or water scarcity, it’s also becoming more and more important that we lead a more sustainable lifestyle. However, green living can seem a little daunting if you’re not sure where to start.
For those of you wondering how to incorporate more sustainable practices into everyday life, we’ve put together this guide for how to pick up green living, one small but meaningful step at a time!
First and foremost, before you get into living a more sustainable lifestyle, it’s time to think about your situation and what your limitations are. It’s unrealistic to go zero waste overnight or quit using a car cold turkey. You’d probably have a miserable time with green living if you did that!
Instead, make any goals you make realistic for your situation. When setting these goals, keep in mind that lasting change is created by gradual improvements.
Take it one step at a time
Once you’ve defined a realistic goal for your green living journey, it’s time to start taking the first steps. It’s best to divide this goal into a series of well-defined steps.
For example, if you have an objective of ditching single-use plastic within three months, which could then help you go zero waste later, these could be the steps you take towards accomplishing that goal:
- Stop buying produce packaged in plastic.
- Invest in a reusable water-bottle.
- Look for more sustainable stores or farmers markets in your local area.
- Find plastic-free alternatives for your bathroom products and cosmetics, such as shampoo bars, a menstrual cup or soap bars.
Again, the exact steps you take will depend on your situation and budget. However, it’s most important that you don’t try to take too many steps at once. We’d recommend that you take no more than 2-3 steps at once and make sure these have become habits before you pick up more. Some steps will certainly take longer than others, so take the time you need to make sure you stick with them.
Green living isn’t a fad, similar to a diet – it’s a change in lifestyle. Think in the long terms and you’ll find sustainable choices will become second nature. You’ll naturally reach for the more eco-friendly option in stores, choose public transport over driving or a plant-based option over meat, without a second thought.
Find easier solutions
Most of us have very busy lifestyles, which means that we can’t afford to spend a lot of time on green living. We need time-saving solutions, which will make sustainability and any goals related to it easy.
For example, many sustainability or zero waste guides give instructions on how to make your own cleaners. While this is a wonderful alternative for people who may be stay-at-home parents or in-between jobs and have a little more time on their hands, those of us working busy jobs and having additional responsibilities on top of that just don’t have the time.
If that’s the situation you’re in, don’t make it difficult for yourself – take the easier solution and buy what you need instead. That way, you’re also supporting a sustainable company working to make the world a greener place. Coming back to the cleaner example, instead of making your own, simply buy an eco-friendly cleaner!
Do what works for you
Each one of us is different – we live in different homes and have a different lifestyle. This is why things that work wonderfully for one person may not work for another. For example, one person may be eating completely vegan to reduce their carbon footprint but can’t avoid using a car because of their job. Another person, on the other hand, may be having a really hard time giving up all animal products, but doesn’t own a car and only uses public transport.
We all have different circumstances – work with the situation you’re in and start by taking steps which come most natural to you. Most importantly, keep this in mind when speaking to others. Don’t shame others for not taking the same steps you’re taking – and if somebody shames you, the best thing to do is usually to walk away and let it go.
Keep changing it up before you find what works
You likely won’t find all the perfect green living solutions for your lifestyle at first try. This is not a reason to give up – it’s merely something that signals it may be best to try a different approach or take different steps.
Perhaps at first, you may be trying to work towards a green lifestyle by choosing a zero waste shampoo bar. But perhaps you’ll find that it’s not the best option for your thick hair and takes a lot of time to apply. In that case, a liquid natural shampoo, although packaged, may be a better choice for you in that case.
Or, maybe, you might have decided to o vegan for the environment but have a very hard time giving up dairy because you live somewhere with very limited vegan options. In that case, it may be better for you to stick with a vegetarian diet and work to reduce your impact elsewhere, such as using the car less or buying more locally produced food.
No matter where you decide to begin with cultivating a habit of green living, keep these steps in mind and you’ll build up a sustainable lifestyle you enjoy!
Each small, sustainable choice is one more step towards greener living